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Fixed Duration and Effort Driven Task in Project 2013

The Problem:

“When I assigned a task to Fixed Duration, WITH EFFORT DRIVEN I see that Project has calculated some of the resources to work 50% or 33%. How does that work then? I had 5 days of work, with 4 resources. So after calculating, they still work for 5 days, still with four resources but of course less work. Thing is, I get two of these resources working 100% and one with 50% and the other with 33%! I cannot, for the life of me, work out WHY WOULD PROJECT calculate that when ALL RESOURCES are 100%.”

The Solution:

I’ll show how to manage that in MS PROJECT 2013.

First of all the formula:


You should remember this formula for the rest of your life.

Now suppose that you have an effort driven Task with Fixed Duration! What does it mean? It means that no matter how many Resources will work on the Task, it should have fixed, and unchanged duration. On the other hand, effort driven means that if you add another resource to the Task, all Resources should work less hours.

First I’ll crate a brand new Task:


and I’ll make that Task Fixed Duration – Effort Driven:


Now, let’s say that on that Project I have four Resources:


For explanation I will use Task Usage View, and I’ll add Peak Field in this View:



I’ll also use Detail View:


Finally I’ll click on the lower part on the Screen, and I’ll go to the Format Tab:


OK! Setup is done!

For my First Example I’ll add all Resources (four of them) AT ONCE)!



after I click at OK button I’ll get:


Let’s go back to the formula. Because I’d added all resources at once, MS PROJECT interprets that like: All four resources must work full time!.

So Duration = 5 days, Units = 100%, and Work = 5 days (5 days * 8 hours) * 100% = 40 hours per Resource!

As you can see, peak Units and Unit are 100%!

Now I am going to delete those resources and then I’ll do next:

  1. Add John and Click OK button
  2. Add Mary and Click OK button
  3. Add Peter and Click OK button
  4. Add Paula and Click OK button

I’ll get:


When I add Resources (Mary, after John, Peter after Mary, and Paula after Peter), MS PROJECT works like: You need another resource to finish that Tasks, so because the Task is effort driven, other resource will work less hours per day.

First I added John. Formula was:

Duration = 5 days, Units = 100%, and Work = 5 days (5 days * 8 hours) * 100% = 40 hours for John! And for the Task to complete, 40 hours are enough!

After that I added other Resources, and MS PROJECT says: OK, John will split his work with others. So this 40 hours will be split between John, Mary; Peter, and Paula!

Now look, at the Peak field, not at Units field. Every Resource will work 25% of available time per day:

Duration = 5 days, Peak Units = 25%, and Work = 5 days (5 days * 8 hours) * 25% = 10 hours for John, Mary, Peter and Paula!

You can see this in the Task Usage View:


To conclude, always look at the Peak field.

Hope this helps!

Related Content

Webinars (watch for free now!):
Eliminate the Confusion – Deep Dive into Task Types and Effort Driven
Webinar: Digging Deeper – Learning More about Inactivating Tasks and Inserting a Repeatable Block of Tasks

Do’s and Don’ts: Using Hammock Tasks
Inactivate Tasks: The Best Way to Make Temporary Changes in Your Schedule


Written by Nenad Trajkovski

MVP – Project

Nenad Trajkovski was born in Zagreb in 1963. year. After completion of Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Nenad has started on the development and implementation of enterprise systems (ERP) in companies of various areas (banks, card houses, production companies, auto industry, wholesale businesses, oil companies, and others). He has extensive experience in working with business processes, people and knowledge in information technology and financial accounting activities.

Currently, Nenad works as a consultant for the implementation of business systems, and as Project Manager. He is trainer for Project Management and Risk Management in Microsoft Innovation Center in Varaždin. At WinDays08 conference he has been declared as the best speaker, and his session as the best one. He was among TOP 10 speakers in the Microsoft Sinergija 2009 and at the Microsoft Vzija 2009. Shared first place as the best lecturer at KulenDays 2009 and the PMI Forum 2009 in Zagreb. Regular speaker at the Microsoft Community. On WinDays10 conference Nenad was among the top three speakers; at the conference Microsoft Vision 9 in Skopje between the top 5 speakers as well as on Microsoft Synergy 11 which was held in Belgrade. Certified Accountant, PMP (Project Manager Professional), PMI – RMP (Risk Manager Professional), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), MCTS – Microsoft Project 2010 (Microsoft Certified Technical Professional).  and MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer).

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  1. Well explained, thanks for sharing!

  2. Not well explained, the problem is one gets two of these resources working 100% and one with 50% and the other with 33%, not all four working 25%

  3. I am facing an issue on MSPS 2013 on fixed task duration when I assign multiple resource to the tasks with the duration fixed and when the resource charge there effort, the task duration gets automatically changed for other resources in the tasks and for the resource who charges in the task.

    I need a help on the getting the task with fixed duration and the duration should not change when the resource charge there effort

  4. I have a project where the resource working for single product are like
    FE x 4, BE x 4, DBA x 1, Architect x 1, QA x 4
    Available hrs. per sprint: 916

    The breakdown of the hours are as follows;
    Utilization type hrs
    Vacation 80
    Birthday 8
    Anniversary 8
    Sick time 24
    Holiday 80
    Misc 221 Sprint related tasks Demos etc
    Total 421

    17 sprints per year 24 hrs reduced per sprint 421 / 17
    Total Utilization 96 120hrs – 24hrs

    I want to create resources in Ms project 2013 as team based. so how do i calculate the team based resources for each task with in the same product.
    Is there any ways where I can use the team based approach and make sure the hours are calculated automatically.
    below are the tasks for one product launch and the Resources:
    FE x 4, BE x 4, DBA x 1, Architect x 1, QA x 4
    Available hrs. per sprint: 916 ;
    Patient Tracker 30 days
    Cloud based smart files 9 days
    smart file copy 9 days
    Refresh Process 31 days
    Smartfile sub/unsubscribe 25 days
    Username, User authentication 7 days
    Login page 3 days
    100 Consents workflow security Hist/sig events 17 days

  5. Great explanation !!

  6. The appropriate formula in this case is
    Duration (d) x Peak x Hourperday [ie 8] = Work (h men)

  7. Can anyone explain why changing the task type to Fixed Duration changes the Duration (and % Complete with it)

    e.g. A task with multiple resources on Fixed Units or Fixed Work has Duration 31.68d. Changing to Fixed Duration increases Duration to 34.87d (the effect is repeatable switching back and forth between the different types)

    Effort driven does not affect this, work is not moved around and nothing else appears to change.


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